A group of hackers is attempting to defraud the Canadian banking system. Investigations conducted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the O'Unit (Ontario), are inconclusive since this particular type of fraud is unheard of. The Superintendent of the Department of Electronic Fraud, Derek Savill, receives an unexpected and well written e-mail signed by a certain Master of Criminals stating that he needs to speak with him regarding the course of his investigations. Derek does not take the e-mail seriously and continues to work with his team mate and best friend, Adam. That night, however, when Derek arrives home, an intruder is waiting for him. Derek is hit in the head, blindfolded, and cuffed to his own bed. The stranger informs him that on that same night he will kidnap one of Derek’s brothers. Oddly, the criminal assures Derek that his brother will be treated well as long as Derek meets his requirements regarding the course of his investigations. The Master of Criminals is elusive, intelligent, and not who he appears to be.
Master of Criminals is an action packed, gripping international crime story.
The signatory named himself Master of Criminals. Due to Derek's profession and his excellent investigation results, however, he received hundreds of threats. Normally the threats were not as refined or well written as the one he received that morning, as they only stated that he would be killed. Sometimes the different manners of his supposed death were even described. The respectful tone of the threat ignited a tiny flame of curiosity in his mind.
"Derek, they attacked again."
"Who was the target this time?" Derek asked blankly.
"A socialite. Her name is," Adam consulted his notes and added, "Charlene Harrison."
This one was famous, Derek realized, as he recognized her name from newspapers and magazine covers. The case was maddening since Adam never had trouble finding flaws in others' procedures or arguments. This case defied their abilities in different ways, such as the apparent lack of failures, the poor connection between the victims, the inventive methods, and the new employee lent to their department by the technical area.
The gang, as it appeared to be the work of much more than one man, so far had attacked only wealthy women across the Canadian territory. Systematically they stole their data and banking passwords and relieved all funds they might have deposited. The traditional means of tracking electronic fraud had not worked and this case astonished them all. No spyware, sniffers, or Trojan horses. Not a malware in SQL. Not an evidence of cloning sites or phishing e-mails or known scams. Up to now they failed to locate the source of the fake IP. How had they done it? To complicate everything even further, among the victims there were no known connections, other than the fact that they were all loaded women. To make everything worse, the case had fallen into the interest of the press, which caused their superior to determine it a priority.
The modus operandi was always the same. All the funds were transferred, although the encrypted data stored in the financial systems remained the same. Despite this, the hacked financial institutions didn't seem to know where the funds were transferred to, as the internal codes were switched. It was as if the money had never existed. It had already happened four times, with different women and different independent financial institutions. Derek had considered internal involvement and interrogated numerous employees, without success.
This is the first of three books in the Master of Criminals series.